Cambridge UK wireless technology business Cognovo has been acquired by Swiss company u-blox for $16.5 million – and both companies are promising major growth from a Cambridge springboard.
A maiden 4G product is planned for 2013. Cognovo’s Software Defined Modem (SDM) technology and development tools quickly translate complex radio modem designs into fully characterised low-power semiconductor chips.
The combination of technologies from Cognovo and the recently acquired 4M Wireless will result in a new wireless modem platform based on IP owned by u-blox.
Cognovo was founded in 2009 by the team that built TTP Communications, one of the most successful software and systems licensing businesses in cellular modems.
An early co-operation with ARM led to the spin-out of ARM’s novel vector processor technology to form the heart of Cognovo’s flexible modem platforms. Today ARM continues to support the business through its investment in the company and its contribution to the board.
The takeover by u-blox, which has genuine global reach and credibility, is good news for Cognovo, the shareholders and the team since the company is now part of a larger organisation focused on building a successful wireless products business leveraging Cognovo technology.
Cognovo has already demonstrated its SDM baseband chip running high-speed 4G cellular functionality working with the LTE protocol stack from 4M Wireless at Mobile World Congress.
With the dual acquisitions, u‑blox has laid the groundwork for establishing a leading position in 4G wireless modems similar to the strategy that u-blox followed to become the market leader in GPS/GNSS modules.
The market for 4G modems used for machine-to-machine (M2M) applications is predicted to grow rapidly, surpassing 20 million units by 2016.
“We are very pleased to deploy our SDM technology within u-blox,” said Dr. Gordon Aspin, Cognovo CEO. “With over 300 man-years of R & D invested in our SDM technology, this acquisition brings together the industry’s most advanced software modem development platform with some of the best IC design and GNSS engineers in the world. This will be an unbeatable team.”
u-blox has acquired 100% of Cognovo‘s shares for $16.5 million and also acquired key intellectual property and software. It is integrating the Cognovo business and 30 employees into u-blox’ organisation.
Headquartered in Cambridge, England, Cognovo has offices in Leuven, Belgium and sales representation in China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan.
Founded in 1997 and listed on the Swiss stock exchange, u-blox is a leading fabless semiconductor provider of embedded positioning and wireless communication solutions for the consumer, industrial and automotive markets.
Its solutions enable people, devices, vehicles and machines to locate their exact position and wirelessly communicate via voice, text or video. Headquartered in Switzerland and with global presence in Europe, Asia and the Americas, u-blox employs over 200 people.
u-blox CEO Thomas Seiler said: “This is a very exciting acquisition for u-blox as it positions us as an agile and cost-effective supplier of high-speed wireless modem products based on our own chip IP.
“This allows us to meet market demand for connected systems that require positioning, connectivity and application specific functionality on a single integrated circuit.This new foundation broadens our serviceable market, and will increase our margins in the automotive, consumer and industrial sectors.”